Future of Ageing Award winner: The Remote Repair Project

The Remote Repair Proect participants, L-R: Akriti Pant, Suzanne Kapp and a resident participant of the project.

The Remote Repair Project research study examined pressure injuries in aged care, employing remote expert consultations and innovative technologies for significant improvements. It won the Research category in the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards.

The Remote Repair Project aimed to bring significant change to aged care by addressing the challenge of pressure injuries (PIs) among residents. Led by Dr Suzanne Kapp from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Nursing, the project received funding from the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund.

Implemented by Regis Aged Care, the project commenced in late 2021 and concluded in June 2023. It encompassed designing a remote expert wound nurse consultation program, evaluating its implementation, and conducting a pilot trial involving residents, family members, and staff.

Why it Came About

Pressure injuries affect up to a quarter of aged care residents in Australia, leading to pain, reduced quality of life, and increased healthcare costs. Managing and preventing PIs is complex and requires specialised expertise, which is often lacking in a residential aged care setting. The Remote Repair Project aimed to bridge this gap by providing remote access to expert wound nurses, enhancing staff capacity, and improving PI prevention and management strategies.

The Opportunity

The project designed a remote expert wound nurse consultation program tailored to the aged care context. Utilising videoconferencing technology, residents, family members, and staff engaged with expert nurses over 12 weeks. The consultations focused on assessment, collaborative care planning, education, and support. Innovative technologies such as digital wound imaging and automated measurement systems were employed to enhance care delivery and decision-making.

Unlike the usual care approach of engaging external nurses for such consultation, the project wound nurses had direct access to the residents’ electronic medical records and Regis policy and processes. 

Evidence of Success

The project involved nine Regis homes and 77 nurses, resulting in significant improvements in PI prevention and management. Over 98% of residents received the intended consultations, with 76% of those with existing PIs showing signs of healing. The project also led to staff gaining experience with innovative dressings and devices, and the implementation of new skin care practices. Feedback from residents, family members, and staff highlighted the benefits of the remote consultation approach in improving care delivery and outcomes.

Nurse report of program benefits:

  • Supportive and timely consultations
  • Better knowledge regarding the management of complex wounds especially pressure sores
  • Create an effective treatment plan to heal patients’ wounds and prevent infection
  • Advised about the right product, new products 
  • Early detection of wound deterioration from Tissue Analytics 

The project’s impact extended beyond immediate outcomes, with staff incorporating their learnings into daily practices, benefiting other residents. Additionally, the utilisation of advanced technologies such as digital wound imaging not only facilitated accurate assessment but also contributed to research in the area, advancing the understanding of wound care and management.

The Remote Repair Project represents a groundbreaking initiative in aged care, offering a scalable and sustainable solution to the challenge of PI prevention and management. By sharing its findings and intervention, the project aims to inspire similar innovations in aged care settings worldwide, ultimately improving the quality of life for older adults. Further information is available under Open Access here.

[The remote consultation approach] is brilliant. It just speeds up the whole process, you know, allows you to get on to things much earlier than waiting for somebody to physically get there … to find new ways to do things, I think it’s perfectly appropriate.  Mums skin seems much better with the recommended cleansing and moisturising application. 

Family member feedback

The Remote Repair Project has been widely recognised in the wider aged care and wound management community due to the innovative remote approach and the potential to bring expertise to the care of aged care residents (irrespective of where they reside and during events such as a pandemic) in a structured, evidence-based and accessible way.

The success of the project illustrates the importance of collaborative research efforts between academia, healthcare providers, and industry partners in addressing pressing healthcare challenges and driving positive change in aged care practices.

Entry for the 2024 Future of Ageing Awards opens April 8, with a gala ceremony in Sydney on August 29 to announce the winners and highly commended.


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